San Diego County

Santa Ana Winds, Heat Bring Increased Risk of Wildfires in San Diego County

The National Weather Service extended its red flag warning until 5 p.m. Tuesday for the San Diego County mountains and the western valleys

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Santa Ana winds will sweep through parts of San Diego County as temperatures heat up amid low humidity, significantly raising the risk of wildfires throughout the region, according to the National Weather Service.

A wide area of high pressure will build over the western United States Monday, ushering in hot and dry weather in Southern California through Thursday, forecasters said.

The NWS issued a red flag warning from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday for the San Diego County mountains and the western valleys.

NBC7's Bridget Naso shows us how fire agencies across San Diego prepare for critical fire weather that is expected to arrive in just hours.

Sustained winds Monday out of the east and northeast are expected to be between 15 to 20 mph, with gusts possible reaching 30 mph, forecasters said. Daytime humidity is expected to drop to 10 to 15 percent throughout the region.

San Diego Gas & Electric notified hundreds of backcountry residents about the possibilities of Public Safety Power Shutoffs this week. The utility said shutoffs were unlikely Monday.

The conditions make some in the East County uncomfortable, especially residents like Diana Nusbaum who remembers having to evacuate for wildfires both in 2003 and 2007.

"I mean, it is a little tough. I am a little on edge. It is hard," said the Rancho Bernardo resident. "The only thing that I get tense about is that I have to be careful of the horses."

Nusbaum said that her three horses are at a ranch in Poway and she trusts that their evacuation plan will get them out safely if there is a wildfire during this red flag warning.

The red flag warning means that outdoor burning is not recommended, and any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly, according to the NWS. Wind speeds are expected to weaken this evening, but low humidity and dry fuels will elevate the risk of wildfires through at least Thursday.

The NWS also issued a heat advisory that will be in effect from 10 a.m. Tuesday through 8 p.m. Thursday in the western valleys.

High temperatures Monday are forecast to reach 78 degrees near the coast, 86 inland, 90 in the western valleys, 97 near the foothills, 91 in the mountains and 106 in the deserts.

The mercury could reach the triple digits in many western valley communities on Tuesday and Wednesday, forecasters said. Highs in the deserts are expected to drop to 105 on Tuesday, then rise to 109 on Wednesday.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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